Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Opinion

February 4, 2013

TIDBITS: God didn’t leave our schools

CROSSVILLE — A few weeks ago, the Cumberland County Board of Education voted to allow the Ten Commandments to be displayed in Cumberland County Schools as a historic document, as allowed by state law. We posted preview stories about the upcoming vote, a reminder the meeting was taking place and the story that covered the discussion that took place prior to the unanimous decision on our website and on the Chronicle’s Facebook page, as we do with much of our local coverage.

While our website doesn’t allow for comments on individual stories, Facebook users are welcome to comment on the links on our Facebook page. There people proclaimed how proud they were the school board was putting God back in the schools.

I humbly disagree. I don’t think God has, or even can be, kicked out of our schools.

The U.S. Supreme Court has protected students’ individual rights to pray, dress in religious attire and express their religious beliefs in schools, so long as those actions are not disruptive to the learning environment, discriminatory or coercive to those who may not share the same beliefs. Students can form religious clubs, but they must be open to all students equally. Students can meet during non-instructional time for those clubs or spend that non-instructional time reading their Bibles or praying. Outside religious groups can use school facilities during non-school hours as long as they follow the rules of any other non-school organization

I understand why people think God has been kicked out of our schools. The labyrinth of court cases from the 1960s to today has left many scratching their heads. In many cases, school administrators are gun shy about activities that they aren’t sure will pass Constitutional muster. Many claim that while trying to ensure there was no “establishment” of religion, the courts had infringed on the rights of people to “exercise” their religion. Much of what the courts have done, however, is ensure the state isn’t telling its students or teachers what religion to believe, leaving that to the parents, where the responsibility rightly lies.

We have a variety of different religions in this country. We also have many different denominations and sects within each of those religions. I look at this way — if it were my child, would I be comfortable with the school leading a prayer from another religion? How about who led that prayer? Some denominations do not approve of women leading a public prayer. Some denominations use scriptures that aren’t used by others. How would you like your child having a reading from the gnostic scriptures?

Some might not have a problem with any of these things. Others, I suspect, would be downright angry at the thought their child would take part in anything other than a Christian prayer, and more specifically, their own brand of Christianity. The problem is, in a nation with no state-sponsored religion, and a myriad of religious traditions, we cannot hold one religion above the other in our government.

Students, teachers, principals and everyone else who enters a school can bring God with them, showing their faith through their actions. Being a Christian is about more than holding a Bible study group, which can be done. It’s about more than giving thanks for your meal before lunch, which can be done. It’s about more than bowing your head before a test and praying for God to help you to do your very best, which can be done.

It’s seen in how we treat others — with fairness and kindness, even when they may not deserve it. It’s giving of time and talents to others. It’s offering a helping hand to those in need. When I look around and see how so many of our young people are involved in making this a better community through their churches or clubs or just volunteering on their own, I believe God is still in our schools, because those young people took Him there. When I see our young people in the community conducting themselves with modesty and grace, I know God is still in our schools, because they took Him there. When I hear our young people speak up against bullying or other injustice, I know God is still in our schools, because they took Him there.

Parents, if you want your children to have a Christian upbrining, then give them one, and send them into the world to be a light to others. As an American, that is your right. As a Christian, that is your responsibility.

• • •

Heather Mullinix is assistant editor of the Crossville Chronicle. Her column is published on Tuesday. She may be reached at hmullinix@crossville-chronicle.com.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • We the People: The last dance

    Charlie Hayden’s last recording session with his early partner, Keith Jarrett, was in 2007.  The songs they played were mostly melancholy.  The second album coming from that session includes Weil’s “My Ship” and Porter’s “Every Time We Say Goodbye.” The dark ballad “Goodbye,” by Gordon Jenkins, was the final track.

    July 22, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Living in a pressure cooker

    The Gaza Strip, a small Palestinian territory about the size of Washington, D.C., has been in the news almost every day.  Its key location at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea has attracted a number of occupying powers over the years, and it has  been at the center of much Middle East history.

    July 22, 2014

  • Tidbits: The excitement of election day

    On March 12, 1996, there were 427,183 votes cast in the presidential primary election. Among those votes was mine, the first vote I cast in an election, just two days after my 18th birthday.

    July 21, 2014

  • Raising the minimum wage

    My first job from which FICA was withheld was a minimum wage job, seventy-five cents an hour. And yes, even then no one could live on that little money. However, I was a high schooler living at home where my father provided room and board. The job gave me pocket money to buy gasoline, to take my girlfriend out for movies and burgers, and to buy tickets for baseball games.

    July 21, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Children on the move

    The news this past week has focused on the humanitarian crisis developing on our southern border. Thousands of unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras seeking to escape from the violence, human trafficking and extreme poverty in their countries have been entering the United States.

    July 15, 2014

  • We the People: Memo to gun rights groups

    The recent incident in California helps us understand why we cannot rely on mental health services alone to solve the problem of gun violence.

    July 15, 2014

  • Tidbits: Make the best of your road trip

    I didn’t care for road trips when I was young. It was so confining to have to sit in the back seat, staring out the window for hour after hour, hayfield after hayfield. And when you’re a kid, time doesn’t pass like it does when you get a little older. Just the trip from Jamestown, TN, to Crossville, roughly 30 miles, felt like an eternity!

    July 14, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Biased climate agenda will cost trillions

    For anyone who has been educated in the history of science and scientific method, this whole issue of “Global Warming” or “Climate Change” is an embarrassing and painful exercise.

    July 14, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Time for an oil change

    The land of Iraq, earlier known as Mesopotamia, has a long history going back to Neanderthal times some 60,000 years ago. Later, around 10,000 years ago, it became the site for some of the most important developments in human history: the invention of the wheel, planting of cereal crops, the development of cursive script, mathematics, astronomy and agriculture. Today it is recognized as one of the cradles of civilization.

    July 8, 2014

  • We the People: American women, be informed and vote

    Voting for today’s Republican Party and its Tea Party members, means you are voting against more than most realize.  This is especially true for women.

    July 8, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Parade
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: MH17 Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel Clinton: "AIDS-Free Generation Within Our Reach" Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice
Graduation 2014